Why do artists with millions of plays fail to make a living from streaming?

Or Mishal
8 min readDec 28, 2022
Photo: Getty Images

This article will detail how the method works.

How can many artists worldwide, with millions of listens, fail to make a decent living from their works on Spotify?

The royalties are indeed too low, but the streaming giant is not the bad guy in the story — this article reveals how the method works — and how it can be corrected.

The public ultimatum letter released by singer Neil Young a year ago against streaming service giant Spotify, in which he demanded that they choose between him and Joe Rogen’s popular podcast, rekindled the lively discussions against streaming services and was enough to once again crown Spotify in the eyes of many as the evil giant Who exploits the artists from whom he makes a living.

Young was joined in protest by other artists such as Johnny Mitchell, Graham Nash, David Crosby, and Stephen Stills. Others have chosen not to intervene for fear of escalation on the part of Spotify towards them.
If to be objective, then the anger directed at Spotify is wrong: the amounts that streaming broadcasts bring to creators are undoubtedly too low, but a protest against one service like Spotify, however large, misses the point in this article.

We will explain how royalties are calculated for artists and argue streaming royalties need to correct the balance of power that dominates the music industry.

To do that, you have to go back at least 20 years. For over 20 years, I have been looking for where big money is flowing in the music industry and who is the primary beneficiary.

Photo: Getty Images

2002 was a strange time in the world music industry, entirely developing but still in its infancy. While your band was busy touring in the Netherlands and Belgium, your audience grew up in New Zealand. Your album rolled into a popular radio station and even reached the top ten in the annual parade.

At that time, the royalties report was relatively primitive in that only one line was published — “Radio New Zealand.” There was no way to know how many…

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Or Mishal

Or Mishal is a composer, guitarist and is an enthusiastic supporter of young and anonymous musicians worldwide. For more, visit http://ormishal.net